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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Ulverston Laurel and Hardy museum celebrates latest move

IT first opened in 1983, relocated across town in 2009, and on Sunday the Laurel and Hardy Museum celebrated its latest move.

Fans from as far as Glasgow and the Wirral turned out for the official opening in the larger downstairs section of the Roxy.

Fittingly, if Ulverston’s most famous son was still alive, it would have been his 123rd birthday.

The attraction has moved from a smaller section of the art deco building, providing more space for the exhibits and the capacity to host live comedy, starting from around September.

Manager Mark Greenhow, who is open to ideas as to what other events could be held at the venue, said: “We’re really pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s been a heck of a job doing it.

“It’s been a two-man job doing the place up, but the museum is looking the best that it has for a long time now and the feedback has been really positive.”

Mr Greenhow’s late grandfather, Bill Cubin, first opened the museum in Upper Brook Street after what started as a personal collection grew and grew.

It opened to the public in 1983, when Jeffrey Holland of Hi-de-Hi! fame cut the ribbon, but years later opened in the Roxy in April 2009 on the same day the Laurel and Hardy statue was unveiled in County Square.

Lucy Cubin, 85, wife of the late Bill, who uncovered the birth certificate to prove Stan was born in Ulverston, said: “It started in such a small room and it’s just developed over the years and done such a lot of good for Ulverston. It has been an incredible 30-odd years.”

Averril Renton, Grand Sheik of the Wiral-based Midnight Patrol 2 tent of the Sons of the Desert fan club, visited with vice-chief Paul Bailey and Claire Joan.

She said: “We’ve come to support Mark and the family. The whole idea of the Sons of the Desert is to keep Stan and Ollie alive. We’d travel the world for Stan.”

Also in attendance was Brian Worthington, who directed the film Stan’s Childhood, which included several shoots in Ulverston and premiered in Wigan in September last year.

Both he and Mr Greenhow agreed it would be a great idea to stage a screening in the new museum.

Mr Worthington, a lifelong Laurel and Hardy fan, said: “We’re here for the birthday celebrations.

“Because we were so interested in Stan’s younger life with the film, it always makes it a bit special coming here.”

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